Inverted Pyramid: How To Use This Effective Writing Style

By Indeed Editorial Team

May 13, 2022

Choosing a writing style is just as important as choosing a topic to write about. Some styles work well with certain genres, like the inverted pyramid style with news stories. While the inverted pyramid style takes practice to learn, its simple structure provides many benefits to readers and writers alike. In this article, we learn about the inverted pyramid writing style, including why you should consider it for news stories or blogs and how to use it effectively in your writing.

Related: Types of Writing Styles: Definitions and Examples

What is an inverted pyramid?

An inverted pyramid is a storytelling structure often used in journalism and blogs. The inverted pyramid refers to how information is shaped within an article. The article begins with a lead paragraph that offers the writer's main points and most relevant information. After that, the writer adds more general information that supports the main point. And finally, near the end of the piece, the writer adds smaller details, such as background information, that inform the main point but aren't necessary for understanding the article's overall intent.

Related: How To Start a Blog

How to write in the inverted pyramid style

When considering the inverted pyramid style for your writing, think about whether your story works if the main point is at the very beginning. Some writing genres, like poetry and novels, work better when you make the main point later. If you think the inverted pyramid style is right for your article, then follow these steps to write:

1. Get the audience's attention

The first thing to do when writing in the inverted pyramid style is to determine your main point. Your main point is the "base" of your inverted pyramid and will introduce readers to your topic. Like the base of a pyramid, keep the ideas in the first paragraph broad, but stay on topic. Consider answering the Five-W questions to guide your introduction paragraph:

  • Who: Who is the subject of your story? List the people involved and how they're connected to the story as concisely as possible. If you're writing a news story, they could be witnesses to an event. If you're writing a DIY or blog post, the "who" might be yourself or your reader.

  • What: What is happening? Describe the important topic that you are writing about.

  • When: When did this happen? Give a date and time, if applicable. While typical for news stories, not all inverted pyramid pieces need this question answered.

  • Where: Where did this happen? Similar to the "when" question, you can describe where something important happened if that information is necessary.

  • Why: Why is this important to the reader? Explain briefly why readers should look at this article. If the event you're writing about effects others, you can describe this.

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2. Reveal general information

The body of an inverted pyramid piece expands on the information given in the introduction. Here, the inverted pyramid gets thinner as you describe the secondary information of the main topic and discuss the story more deeply. After viewers read the introduction, they should have all the basic information they need to understand the story. Information in the body is not a necessity for readers, but it can help them understand the topic better or give them other points to research.

Consider separating your body paragraphs with subheadings that describe each section. This could help readers skim for any extra information they want, and it makes your piece look clean and well-organized.

3. Give interesting minor details

The end of your article is the "tip" of the inverted pyramid. By this part of your piece, the readers should know everything they need to about the topic. Use this space to reveal any interesting details or extra information that isn't needed to understand the main point. You can include relevant information, like related links to other articles or tips for completing a DIY project.

Benefits of using the inverted pyramid writing style

The inverted pyramid style works best for certain types of writing, like news stories or blog posts. Here are some of the ways the inverted pyramid style can be useful:

Makes the main point easily accessible

For pieces like breaking news or DIY guides, the inverted pyramid style gives readers the information they want the most as early as possible. This allows readers to come back for more details if they need them without making them read through the entire piece. In such a fast-paced world, it's especially important for people to skim a piece for the main point quickly, because this kind of engagement increases the chances of the article being shared on social media or other websites. Readers then feel more in control of the information they are reading and sharing.

Encourages scrolling for more details

The inverted pyramid style can also be useful if your goal is to get people to explore your website. When the main point is at the beginning, interested readers may continue scrolling to search for details about the topic. When readers scroll to continue reading, it's likely that they are genuinely interested in the topic and may want to know more. This is important for showing any links you have to other pages on your website, whether in the article or the sidebar, that a reader might not see if they stop scrolling early.

Puts relevant keywords at the top of a piece

Keywords are integral to website marketing and SEO practices. When you write in the inverted pyramid style, your top keywords will be at the very beginning of your piece where the most important information is. This is useful for readers who are looking for a specific article to know that they're in the right place. It also encourages them to continue reading for more details on the subject.

Related: How To Write Articles

Can develop a call to action

For certain types of writing, like email marketing, the inverted pyramid can help you build anticipation for a call to action. When using the style in this way, the details at the end often suggest readers do something. For email marketing, the call to action could be to buy something on sale. For something like reviews, it could be to buy a product. Inverted pyramids provide the perfect structure to add a call to action if your goal is to get readers to do something specific.

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